misleading statistics regarding debt and demographics

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Submitted by temeculaguy on June 13, 2019 - 12:16am


You can find this article in numerous locations, this one is geared towards Southern California. So the reader can see that Auto loan, student loans and personal loans per household makes some cities look ripe for risk. For those that don't want to read the article, the cities with the highest non mortgage debt per household in order are

1. Yorba Linda
2. Santa Clarita
3. Temecula
4. Murietta
5. Gilroy
6. San Clemente
7. Hanford
8. Newport Beach

and the article goes on to list the top 15 and then says San Fran and Berkely have the least auto debt.

While some may see this as proof we all need to live in urban cites or that the burbs and some upper class non urban cities are debt ridden you have to look another layer of the statistics and how it ignores demographics, housing stock and other very real factors. To coin a new phrase, this is fact based fake news, or more my speed as Mark Twain said "There are three kinds of lies; Lies, damned lies and statistics."

Let's take the towns at #2 and #3, two places where I've lived for a combined 40 years, Santa Clarita and Temecula.

The author quotes lending tree as households, but then cites numbers per resident. Those are huge distinctions because #2 and #3 have a higher percentage of single family homes than other cities. Both cites have very few poor people and very few homeless. So 18k in car loans and 10k in student loans (per person or per household is still unclear) doesn't seem so bad.

Or I could see that we need to move to Hemet because because they have 1/3 the student loan debt. Hemet has a lot of elderly and poor, not everyone but far more demographically than Temecula/Murrieta.

Let's go SD County, Oceanside and El Cajon are good, Carlsbad and La Mesa are bad.

A usable study would be debt to income by city, available credit by city., default of credit by city or perhaps welfare by city. Student loan debt, auto loan debt, those are indications that people have jobs, educations and credit. And on student loan debt, it tends to be concentrated among the younger people, cities have wildly varying age demographics.

Makes me think of this recent gem that says El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are more peaceful (implies safer) than the USA.


turns out that they count firearms ownership and military expenditures and climate change as factors. But the headline is all mot people read. Anyone relocating to El Salvador because it is more "peaceful?"

Submitted by barnaby33 on June 26, 2019 - 8:38am.

So other than, it's misleading, do you have a point to make? Something along the lines of, the kids are alright?

Submitted by The-Shoveler on June 26, 2019 - 9:36am.

LOL, I think the point TG is trying to make is these area's (2-4 at least) tend to have young middle class families so this type of debt is not unusual.

Versus more urban area's where there maybe a mix of more poor and homeless and in some area's more affluent families.

In the case of area's like San Francisco probably a mix of all + a lot young single guys with no kids (seriously I could not imagine trying to raise kids in San Fran or any similar big city downtown environment).

Submitted by Astrid Rey on June 26, 2019 - 12:58pm.

I don't understand why this article has you so triggered. It just presents the numbers without trying to make any judgments about the cities or the people living there. The article isn't telling you to move anywhere!

There are many reasons why people living in the cities on the edges of major urban areas would have more auto debt. Many of them work in the bigger cities and commute. I live in Menifee and almost nobody who lives here works here. Temecula, Santa Clarita, and Gilroy are similar. These places tend to be where service workers, construction and maintenance people live. They have jobs but they don't pay as well as the professional jobs that people in the cities may have. Cars cost the same everywhere so if one gets paid less and has to drive more, they probably have more auto debt.

Submitted by temeculaguy on June 28, 2019 - 12:25am.

The article doesn't have me triggered, the state of journalism does. It also presents skewed facts without perspective or context. People under 30 statistically get their news only from social media and thus only the headlines or summaries are all that are presented. Rarely do articles today interview a second source or an expert with another perspective, they just regurgitate the press release. The UT like other outlets no longer allow comments unless you are a paid subscriber, further closing the echo chamber.

There are huge flaws in the article, but nobody will hear them. They will just make incorrect assumptions. Case in point, Oceanside and El Cajon are better than Carlsbad based on the limited and short sighted statistical information in the article. Maybe it's just me, maybe it's just the decline of print media but it feels like articles decline in quality by the day. It's my fault too, I no longer subscribe to a daily paper. I subscribed to two papers for decades and I got what I paid for, now I don't pay and I'm disappointed in the quality of the reporting, but I guess that's because of me and those like me. So perhaps I shouldn't complain, I got what I paid for. Nothing.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on June 28, 2019 - 3:50am.

I don’t know..... I for one am glad that the San Diego Union Tribune is “the failing UT”. It used to be a lot more powerful and biased before the Internet. I am not missing them.

Submitted by moneymaker on July 1, 2019 - 2:26am.

Yesterdays Union Tribune had an insert/addition called community almanac San Diego. It has all kinds of demographic info as well as short histories of most every local community, it's a keeper I think. Shows a lot of Republicans in the east county like Ramona, Lakeside, Santee, Jamul.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on July 1, 2019 - 6:31am.

its always been difficult to discern anything approaching the truth.

somewhat related, my mom had some old newspaper clipping from the 60s. on the back was some headline about "what will the fed reserve do, it matters so much this werk" that sounded the same as today.

its been all bullshit all the time. since 1776.

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